Google self-driving car badly damaged in accident but wasn't at fault

A human driver ran a red light and hit Google's autonomous Lexus.

A self-driving Lexus RX 450h hybrid sport utility vehicle owned and operated by Google was involved in an accident in Mountain View, California, on Friday afternoon. Nobody was injured, though there was an occupant inside the Lexus at the time of the crash. Initial reports indicate Google's autonomous vehicle was not at fault.

The accident happened when another driver in a commercial van ran a red light and hit the passenger side of the autonomous vehicle. Google confirmed that the vehicle was piloting itself at the time of the accident. When it became obvious a collision was imminent, the human driver applied the brakes, but it was too late. The car sustained significant damage in the crash and had to be towed away on a flatbed trailer.

This isn't the first time one of Google's self-driving vehicles was involved in an accident, but it does appear to be the first time one of the tech giant's cars sustained serious damage. In a statement to, Google said, "Thousands of crashes happen everyday on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the US. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we're developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer."

The United States Department of Transportation earlier this week outlined a set of 15 safety assessment objectives for autonomous vehicle manufacturers to meet. The DOT said "automated vehicles hold enormous potential benefits for safety, mobility and sustainability."

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